I’d been having check-ups with my GP every six months for a few years due to some ongoing health issues. One year, I let too much time pass between appointments, even though I’d been feeling unwell – eating made me feel nauseous and I couldn’t stand to have anything tight around my stomach.
When I did see my GP, I told him about how I’d been feeling and he gave me a physical examination. He booked me in for an ultrasound and a CT scan, which showed an abnormality. I was referred to an oncologist and I had a liver biopsy and another CT scan. The results suggested that I had lymphoma, and a haematologist sent me for another biopsy under general anaesthetic. After that, the diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma was confirmed.
Over the next few weeks, I had more tests and was told the cancer had spread to my liver, spleen and thyroid. My doctor prescribed chemotherapy once a fortnight for four months.
I received the standard chemotherapy drugs for the first few months of treatment, and I took part in a clinical trial for the last four sessions. The doctor was very pleased with how well the new drugs worked.
During the week I had treatment, I would feel okay as the nurses would give me medicine. The next week, I would get side effects like diarrhoea, vomiting and constipation. I took ginger to help with the nausea, and I tried to live my normal life whenever I felt well enough.
I had such good support from work, my family and friends, and the hospital staff were brilliant. I still have regular check-ups and I’m back to living my usual active life.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Ian Bilmon, Haematologist, Westmead and Sydney Adventist Hospitals; Dr Anne Capp, Radiation Oncologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Rachelle Frith, Clinical Nurse Consultant Haematology, Prince of Wales Hospital; Jason Gardner, Consumer; A/Prof Angela Hong, Radiation Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, and Clinical Professor, The University of Sydney; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Samantha Rennie, Social Worker, Cancer Services, St George Hospital. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.